Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How Ridiculous are Sports' Original Rules?

Over the weekend, my buddy Ryno told me about how he was recently invited to play on a travel men's baseball team. However, he's from Hoboken, one of the places that stakes a claim to being the birthplace of baseball, so there was a catch: The team plays all its games using baseball's original rules.

"Well, pegging was allowed back then," I said.
"Oh, f--- that!" he responded. Then, a long pause before he spoke again. "Was it really?"
I think it's safe to say that I killed any chance of him playing on that team.

Granted, baseball (or, base ball, as it was called back then) has changed radically since Alexander Cartwright wrote the first 20 "Knickerbocker Rules" for the game. Still, wouldn't it be ridiculous if some of our most well-known modern sports still played by the original rules? Let's take a look-see:


You know how they say a triple is the most exciting play in the game? Well, with original rules (and pegging), the new most exciting play would be a simple comebacker to the pitcher. For example, Carlos Quentin broke Zach Greinke's collarbone last week when Quentin charged the mound. Can you imagine the next time Quentin faced Greinke? Every Dodgers fan (and most other baseball fans) would be rooting so hard for a grounder back to the mound, just so Greinke could get his sweet revenge.

Here's a sample of what we'd be seeing:

Notice how the announcers can't contain their laughter. It would be like that on almost every play, if only baseball still allowed pegging.


I recently saw, for the first time, the video of what Michael Jordan did to that weak Italian backboard in 1985.

Well, think about what DeAndre Jordan would do to one of Dr. James Naismith's peach baskets.

And how ridiculous is Naismith's original Rule 5: No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed. Oh wait, those are the rules that refs enforce on anyone defending Kobe.


No goalie mask. 'Nuff said.

Hockey great Terry Sawchuck.


No forward pass. Thank goodness for Knute Rockne and the Fighting Irish.


According to Thomas Vennum's book Lacrosse Legends of the First Americans, early laxers may have used "heads taken in warfare...as game balls." Can't imagine too many rich suburban kids from Long Island signing up for that sport.

And to tell you the truth, I can't imagine myself signing up for any of these sports. Turns out that, with the exception of basketball, sports were a lot more manly -- dare I say, too manly? -- when their original rules were created.


  1. Didn't want to comment on women's basketball? http://espn.go.com/espnw/blog/post/2953/remember-ladies-no-snatching-basketball

    haha they went in the opposite direction

  2. Haha, and the guards used to literally "guard" the basket. They couldn't go past halfcourt. What a game. I'm sorry I didn't include women's hoops; that was sexist of me.